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Free at Noon Flashback: Yo La Tengo brings Stuff Like That There to World Cafe Live

Yo La Tengo | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Yo La Tengo | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Today is record release day for Yo La Tengo’s new collection of covers and re-workings, Stuff Like That There, and the Hoboken indie rock heroes celebrated with a performance in front of a sold-out Free at Noon crowd. The album explores the decidedly mellowest side of YLT’s sonic palette, but the crowd was hushed and attentive, nodding along to the doo-wop flavored cover of The Cosmic Rays’ “Somebody In Love” that opened the show, and singing along to Georgia Hubley’s wistful, breezy version of “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Cheerleader revved up the crowd

Cheerleader | Photo by Megan Lynch | meglynchart.tumblr.com
Cheerleader | Photo by Megan Lynch | meglynchart.tumblr.com

Philadelphia indie pop act Cheerleader delighted the crowd with their high energy set at today’s Free at Noon. Fresh off of XPN Fest, attendees were familiar with their shimmery and fun-spirited sounds. Cheerleader kicked off their set with “Do What You Want” and was met with much applause from the F@N Caravan who biked 521 miles from Boston to attend the event, during the opening line “I feel like driving out of Massachusetts.” Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Good Old War took the crowd’s breath away, onstage and off

Good Old War | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Good Old War | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly’s own Good Old War received a warm hometown welcome at today’s Free at Noon, and delivered a dazzling set. Tim Arnold – who left the band last year to raise his family – was back on the drums, once again adding his voice to the band’s signature 3-part harmonies.

Good Old War just returned from a tour in support of their fourth studio album, Broken Into Better Shapewhich was released this past June.  They played several cuts off that record, as well as old favorites.

The band was quite spirited on stage – vocalist/keyboardist Keith Goodwin showed off his dance moves, and guitarist Dan Schwartz kept an electric guitar on a stand, occasionally stepping up to shred some electric solos. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends preview their MilkBoy set with a high-voltage performance

Ezra Furman and the Boyfriends | Photo by Megan Lynch | meglynchart.tumblr.com
Ezra Furman and the Boyfriends | Photo by Megan Lynch | meglynchart.tumblr.com

The always fun and brilliantly flamboyant Chicago son Ezra Furman soared high in his Free At Noon set this Friday. The crowd embraced the quirkiness and sometimes listless personality that has defined Ezra throughout his career.

Successful as both a solo artist and a member of both Ezra Furman and the Harpoons (as well as his current group, Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends), he continues to prove his relevance in the alt-pop/rock genre in just about every which-way possible.  Smearing the sleep from his eyes and peering up to see the crowd, Ezra’s outlook seemed to be of someone ready for bed rather than a live radio show – but then he began to sing and all sense of doubt (even if it was for a second) was quickly thrown out the window. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Greg Holden impressed the crowd with sincerity

Greg Holden | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Greg Holden | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Singer-songwriter Greg Holden knows the peaks and valleys of life like an old friend. And at today’s Free at Noon, he sung about his triumphs and troubles to a passionate audience.

He almost didn’t make it to this point – in 2011, he spent a lofty sum of money to put out his album I Don’t Believe You, then watched helplessly as his record label went bust. Shortly after, he embarked on a sold-out tour of Holland even though he was in debt. By that point, Holden’s attitude towards music had become grim. The curtains had just about closed on his musical dream.

Then, Holden wrote the song “Home” – yes, that one, the chart-shattering single that rocketed American Idol winner Phillip Phillips to stardom. Holden regained his motivation and purpose, and after a trek to India and Nepal, he immediately wrote the songs that would become his major-label debut, Chase the Sun. 

Holden has a knack for weaving his tales into impactful songs. This was best exemplified during today’s Free at Noon concert with the touching “Boys in the Street,” a song about a father’s struggle with his feelings about his gay son. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Langhorne Slim and the Law got everyone’s hips shaking

Langhorne Slim | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Langhorne Slim | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Langhorne Slim, a Philly native, returned to his hometown for our Free at Noon doubleheader today. His performance was received quite warmly, and the crowd was dancing like they just didn’t care.

Slim’s music spread like wildfire after years of touring with bands like Cake, The Avett Brothers, The Violent Femmes, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. He’s been to huge festivals like Bonnaroo, but his music is just as magical and intimate when played in a smaller setting like the World Cafe. The performance was even more special because his mom and grandmother were in the audience. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Jesse Malin powered up the crowd with punk rock

Jesse Malin | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Jesse Malin | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

NYC punk rocker Jesse Malin brought his enthusiastic act to the stage today for Free at Noon.

Malin got his start in the NYC punk scene early, at age 12. After spending time fronting the hardcore band Heart Attack and the glam punk band D Generation, among other projects, Malin decided to go solo. He spent time reshaping his sound to emulate the greats, such as Neil Young, Tom Waits, and Steve Earle. Eight albums later,  he arrived at World Cafe Live today, touring in support of his newest effort, New York Before the War. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: An energized Joss Stone previews Water For Your Soul at World Cafe Live

Joss Stone | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Joss Stone | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

With her seventh LP Water for Your Soul set to release on July 31st, UK singer and songwriter Joss Stone made a visit to Philly today to preview the new album for a sold-out Free at Noon crowd at World Cafe Live.

From the immense energy of opener “Super Duper Love” from 2004′s Mind Body and Soul, Stone had this devoted audience in the palm of her hand, and gave them a taste of the new record in four songs: the groove-tastic “Love Me,” the sentimental “Molly Town,” the alluring “Stuck on You” and the powerful “Let Me Breathe.”  Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth jam for the sold-out crowd

Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The cheers and applause were deafening in World Cafe Downstairs today as Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth took the stage. Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Dead) teamed up with bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth to record his new solo record, Ashes and Dust. They played songs from that record for a sold-out Free at Noon crowd.

Even during his time in his main bands, Haynes wrote folksy Americana songs that he kept to himself for the last 30 years. Now, on Ashes and Dust, he believes this is the right time to release them into the world. Together, he and Railroad Earth recorded over 30 songs, but managed to whittle it down to just 13 for the release. Continue reading →

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David Gray played an emotional, intimate set for Free at Noon

David Gray Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.squarespace.com
David Gray Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.squarespace.com

English singer-songwriter David Gray returned to Free at Noon today in support of his tenth studio album Mutineers.  For twenty plus years, Gray has been making touching and heartfelt music including the phenomenal success of his fourth album, 2000′s White Ladder, which spawned the singles “Sail Away”, and “Babylon.” Known for the personal aspect of his songwriting and use of small-scale recording methods, Gray easily carved a name for himself during the turn-of-the-century indie rock movement. Continue reading →